Nov 142019
 


The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans (Chocoholic Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
17th in Series
Setting – Michigan
Publisher: Berkley (November 5, 2019)
Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 059310000X
ISBN-13: 978-0593100004
Kindle ASIN: B07NKN1R3K

In the newest mystery from nationally bestselling author Joanna Carl, a dive into house flipping becomes a deadly flop….

When a house near Lee and Joe’s home goes up for sale, the couple teams up with Lee’s aunt and uncle, Nettie and Hogan, to buy it, remodel it, and resell it for a sweet profit. But after the owners of the house, the Baileys, accept their offer, a local developer, Richard “Spud” Dirk, suddenly swoops in with a higher one, and it seems their dreams might be snatched away.

Lee, never as passionate about the plan as her husband and uncle, is anxious to get back to focusing on managing TenHuis Chocolade. But when a long-hidden gun is found behind a pipe in the Baileys’ basement, she begins to suspect a mystery is afoot. And when Spud turns up dead in the Baileys’ carport a few days later, it becomes clear there’s something rotten at the foundation….

To solve the murder, Lee will have to strip away layers of secrets–that is, if someone doesn’t level her first….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am so happy this series has returned!

Lee Woodyard’s husband Joe and her uncle Hogan have decided to get in on the house-flipping craze much to Lee’s dismay. Local developer, Richard “Spud” Dirk is not happy either. He had his eye on the property and even states the owner had given him the right of first refusal. The owners have given Joe approval to get estimates from contractors prior to the completed sale, but Joe was unavailable when the plumber came to check out the pipes so Lee played tour guide. She almost loses her life when an old gun is found in the basement and goes off just winging her a bit, but it is when the body is found in the carport cupboard that she knows this whole flipping deal was a big mistake. When the body is identified as “Spud” Dirk and him feuding over the sale with her family Lee knows she is going to have to hammer down the clues and paint the real killer into a corner unless they wipe her out first.

___

As a confirmed chocoholic, I have been all-in on this series from the very beginning. Lee and Nettie are two of my favorite cozy characters and I am thrilled their stories are continuing. I love the relationship they have with the men in their lives.

Sea salt and sharks are the themes of this story and Ms. Carl doesn’t disappoint,  This time the mystery links the present and the past with an old high gang called the “Sharks” and an old prank may have lead to a new murder. The author peppers this story with suspense as well as humor. After spending a little time catching up with the characters things move along at a quick pace. The flow was excellent and I read the entire book in one sitting.

One of the things I really enjoy about this series are the TenHuis chocolates. Whenever a character takes a bite readers are given a full mouthwatering description. I only had a Hershey bar in the house at the time but it took care of my chocolate cravings until I can lay in some truffles of my own.

Well-written, wonderful characters, a captivating mystery, Chocolate Shark Shenanigans was an entertaining story and a great escape for an afternoon or evening. I was excited to get back to Warner Pier and anxiously await my next visit.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about JoAnna Carl visit her webpage here.

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away! 

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 28, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Oct 232019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am happy to feature Fudge Bites by Nancy Coco today!


Fudge Bites (A Candy-Coated Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716086
ISBN-13: 978-1496716088
Kindle ASIN: B07MH9XDNQ

Halloween on Mackinac Island is a season of fun tricks, but finding a corpse is no treat for fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy . . .

NIGHT OF THE REALLY DEAD

It’s late October, off-season for tourists, but locals are up and lurching for the annual zombie walk charity event. Though everyone’s living it up, trouble is just a few pawprints away. Allie follows the bloody tracks of her calico cat, Carmella, to a body in the alley behind the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop. Unlike the island’s other walking dead, this one’s flatlined for good. It seems that someone is using the zombie fest as the perfect backdrop for murder. Now amateur sleuth Allie and dreamboat officer Rex Manning must use every trick in their treat bag to unmask a killer in disguise.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What happens on Mackinac Island in the off-season for Halloween? A Zombie Walk! It’s for charity and a lot of fun until one of the “zombies” is found dead. Allie’s calico cat, Carmella appears to have been the first at the scene because she is all bloody when she is found in the alley behind the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop. Everyone knows Allie McMurphy is on the case but an unexpected visitor has returned to the island with a proposition. Can she stayed focused and catch the killer?

This time Nancy Coco has pulled out all the stops and blown up a mystery everyone will love.

Allie wants to be a year-round resident of the island but with her friend Liz off living in Chicago, she is a little lonely and missing her sleuthing buddy. She has contracted the renovation of one of the floors of the hotel and the addition of a rooftop deck this offseason.  Newlyweds Frances and  Mr. Devaney are there to help her out as she comes up with a few ideas on how to investigate the murder without venturing too far from the hotel. I really enjoyed the way the community came together throughout the story. A little peek into those people the stay on the island the full year or until the snow starts to fly was nice too.

Ms. Coco has filled these pages with action and drama and a huge moment that brought tears to my eyes. The mystery ties into the past in a surprising way. There is even a second body found. A plethora of twists and turns distract and lead both Allie and readers along before the real story comes into focus. A subplot opens a door for Allie and I was cheering as she made her choice.

You will want to take a BIG bite of Fudge Bites! It has fantastic characters, a well-written mystery with suspense, drama, humor, a little bit of romance, and a whole lot of FUDGE. Like Allie, I did miss Liz, With the way to book ends, I think Allie is going to need her friend even more in the next book in the series. I truly can’t wait to see what happens next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Nancy Coco/Nancy J. Parra and her books on her webpage here

Written as Nancy J. Parra

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to giveaway!  
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.

Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 6, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Oct 012019
 

Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder
(A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy

About Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder


Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (September 24, 2019)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496722655
ISBN-13: 978-1496722652
Digital ASIN: B07MRC5KZG

This holiday season, teddy bear shop manager Sasha Silverman must solve the slaying of Santa Bear . . .

Sasha and her sister Maddie are thrilled that the Silver Bear Shop and Factory has won the Teddy Bear Keepsake Contest, which means they get to produce a holiday specialty toy, a wizard bear named “Beary Potter.” Promising to be just as magical is Silver Hollow’s annual tree-lighting ceremony and village parade. Only one hitch: the parade’s mascot, Santa Bear—played by Mayor Cal Bloom—is missing.

After a frantic search among the floats, Bloom is found dead. When the outfit is removed, it’s clear the mayor’s been electrocuted. Who zapped hizzoner and then stuffed him into his Santa Bear suit? While the police investigate the grisly crime, Sasha attempts to track down the murderer herself, with some help from the Guilty Pleasures Gossip Club. Can they wrap up this case in time for Christmas—or will Sasha meet her own shocking end?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Silver Hollow just in time for the holiday tree-lighting and parade. The folks at the Silver Bear Shop and Factory have been feeling very “beary” because they won a huge contest which means they are producing a special holiday bear that is being sent everywhere. The wizard bear named “Beary Potter” is also popular in Silver Hollow with tons of orders. It’s all hands on deck to be sure every order is fulfilled before Christmas.

Judith Silverman has been roped into organizing this year’s parade. She is a very organized woman but her Santa Bear, aka Mayor Cal Bloom, left to get into his costume but hasn’t returned. Sasha and her mom start a search for the man and find him nearby but he won’t be participating in this year’s parade. It appears he was electrocuted but is found nowhere close to the source.  Sasha bearly had time to turn around and now she is right in the middle of another murder investigation. With a little help from her friends/Guilty Pleasures Gossip Club, they may be able to wrap up the case in time for a Beary Merry Christmas.

_____

Finally, in book three, Judith has won me over a little bit. She is still a meddling mom but she had plenty of other things going on that she wasn’t quite so overbearing. Then again Sasha’s romance was cooler this time because Jay was out of town for most of the book and Flynn appears to have moved on. Who knows what the future stories will bring? 🙂 I do love the rest of the family. They continue to evolve, have great senses of humor and their dialogues are so realistic. I really enjoy the way they all work together to create bears that brings joy to so many people.

The mystery this time was unique in that Sasha’s mom actually wanted Sasha to investigate the murder, in fact, she demands it. The evidence is clearly pointing in one direction but Sasha’s digging presents more suspects. Not everyone loved the good mayor. Twists on top of twists, I was totally up in the air until the earth-shattering reveal.

Ms. Macy’s storytelling skills are top-notch. She does introduce several new characters this time and at times it was a little confusing but not so much that it took away from the mystery. The author details the scenes with her words and makes them easy to envision. I was delighted by the story from the first page to the last. All the events sounded like so much fun, sans the killer running around town, of course.

This is a series that I do recommend be read in order. Getting to know the Silverman family, their friends, and the residents of Silver Hollow from the start will ensure maximum bear-filled entertainment.

Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder is a perfect read for mystery lovers this holiday season!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Bearly Departed
and a guest post from Meg here.

You can read my review of Bear Witness to Murder
and a character guest post by Sasha Silverman here.

 

About Meg Macy

Meg Macy is an award-winning author and artist, and lives in Southeastern Michigan, the setting of her Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear cozy mysteries for Kensington. Her first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Spur Award for Best First Novel from Western Writers of America. Meg is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland, authors of the Eliza and Henry Higgins Mystery series—of which two titles have been Agatha Award finalists. Meg love gardening, watercolor painting, and reading books of various genres.

Praise for Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder
(A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy

Lots of tension building and the mystery isn’t an easy solve.
~Laura’s Interests

Meg Macy is writing about the season of goodwill, toys, competitions, and murder! and it is a total page-turner from start to finish.
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

As a teddy bear collector, I love reading this series. The latest installment does not disappoint . . . Solving the murder was not easy for me in this story…I had no clue who, why or how until the reveal. It was well worth the wait, and was quite a “shocking” surprise!
~Book Babble

The author has created a setting that sounds magical and I would love to visit. Being there with all of the bear themed activities at Christmas would be great.
~MJB Reviewers

Author Links

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Purchase Links 

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September 23 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews
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September 24 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
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October 4 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
October 5 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Aug 212019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to welcome Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli back to Escape With Dollycas today!

Starting a Novel When You Would Rather Do Anything else . . .
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

I am trying to begin another novel.  There is a contract and I tend to take contracts seriously, but I have no ideas, nobody who deserves killing at the moment. All my trio of women—including smart-mouthed Zoe Zola—want to do is hang out, maybe go to the beach, or sit outside and watch the flowers bloom.  They are no help at all and I have no one else to turn to.

What I’m doing is giving myself a couple of days to see if my brain snaps back into orderly thoughts while I cut down weeds in the garden and have a talk with the doe and her twins who hang around with their eyes fixed on the daylilies.  We’ve had an agreement in the past that she won’t come into the garden until September first—when I turn it over to her—but she seems to be jumping the gun this year (or is that a horrible pun considering hunting season isn’t far behind?).

Anyway, my talk with the doe turned out the way you might think it would so I got out the Deer-Away and sprayed the lilies but still had no idea of anybody who deserved doing in at the moment—except, of course, that perfidious deer and I wouldn’t because I consider her a friend.

The next thing to do is watch “ID” on television and see if any of those real killers spark anything but I detest them so violently they don’t even qualify for a nuanced, carefully constructed demise.

Then I read books by other mystery writers.  Then I read my own books.  Then I swore I wouldn’t read another book and was happy when a man I used to know when I worked in real estate called to ask if I knew that Jimmy Hoffa was buried only a few miles from me.  He got the story from a man he met in a bar and swore it was true but I hurried him off the phone and decided nothing I was doing did me any good and nobody was going to help me.

Sleep is what did it finally.  Lots of sleep.  And eating things I like to eat.  I didn’t give committing murder another thought and then the roofer came to put a new roof on my house and dumped old shingles and wood all over my garden.  Evidently, he stood up there and flung the whole mess as far as he could, taking out most of the daylilies which could have fed a doe and her twins for the entire month.

It was that night, while I was sorrowing over the daylilies, that an idea struck me.  It doesn’t involve a roofer.  It’s about a private orphanage which used to be back in the woods around here—only a ruin now—and the women who ran it, and two little girls sent to live there and one coming up missing.  Then a big X marked into a tree, and . . .

Guess it’s time to stop writing this.  I’m pretty certain of my next victim now . . . a woman who used to run a private orphanage—her body is floating in the lake . . . and that big X, stretched and worn . . . marking something nobody wants to think about until a couple more bodies turn up in strange places.

What a relief!  Nothing like a floating body to get my brain started.

Or food.

Thank you, Elizabeth for visiting today! 

Keep reading for my thoughts on Elizabeth’s new Little Library Mystery!


And Then They Were Doomed: A Little Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Michigan
Crooked Lane Books (August 13, 2019)
Hardcover: 323 pages
ISBN-10: 1643850008
ISBN-13: 978-1643850009
Kindle ASIN: B07HM9NFXH

Zoe Zola is one of ten invitees to an Agatha Christie symposium. Tempers flare…and then there are nine. Can Jenny Weston save Zoe from murder on the Upper Peninsula?

Little Person author Zoe Zola believes that one of the unluckiest things in life is to receive an invitation—in the form of a letter edged in black—to an Agatha Christie symposium at an old Upper Peninsula hunting lodge. Her reluctance dissipates when she learns that the organizer is named Emily Brent—the name of a character poisoned by cyanide in Christie’s And Then There Were None.

As a dreary rain soaks the U.P., Zoe and nine other Christie scholars—each of whom bears a vague resemblance to one of the classic mystery novel’s characters—arrive at the lodge. At the opening night dinner, arguments flare over the experts’ discordant theories about Christie. Next morning, the guests find one particularly odious man has gone—whereabouts and reasons unknown. Such a coincidental resemblance to a work of fiction is surely impossible; therefore, it appears to be possible.

As the guests disappear, one by one, Zoe resolves to beat a hasty retreat—but her car won’t start. She calls her friend, amateur sleuth/little librarian Jenny Weston, but Jenny will have to wait out a storm off Lake Superior before she can come to the rescue. If Zoe’s to stay alive to greet Jenny when she eventually arrives, she’ll have to draw on everything she knows about Agatha Christie’s devilish plots in Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli’s fourth tantalizing Little Library mystery.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a great story using Dame Agatha Christie as its theme. Zoe Zola gets invited to participate in a symposium that will be webcast to a group of subscribers. Zoe is nervous about accepting because the invitation envelope is edged in black, just like funeral notices she and her mother received over the years from their estranged family. When neighbor Jenny Weston decides she needs to get away for a few days and plans to visit her sister near where the symposium is taking place, Zoe decides to attend.

When Jenny and Zoe get into the Upper Peninsula it is raining and both the lodge where the symposium is taking place and her sister’s camp is out in the boonies. Zoe is nervous when Jenny drops her off but soon the other participants arrive for a total of 10. Zoe is anxious to get to the true reason for her being there.

The leader, Emily Brent, the same name as a character killed in Christie’s And Then There Were None and her helper also with another questionable name try to keep the participants under control but they have various opinions about Christie’s work and fame. When one of the scholars is gone the next morning the group is down to nine, the correlations to Christie’s And Then There Were None were not lost on Zoe Zola.  When another is said to have left, Zoe is ready to leave herself, but there is no way to contact Jenny. The visit they had planned is rained out so she is stuck. She just hopes the sisters will arrive before she is the one to disappear.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli sure sets a spooky/scary scene. An isolated lodge in the middle of Michigan’s north woods in plagued by rain, rain, and more rain. Roads get washed out and fog gives everything a dreary haze. The lodge itself is pretty rustic and not somewhere I would want to stay on a sunny day, but it is the perfect place for a Christie-Esque mystery to play out.

Little person Zoe Zola has not had an easy life and that is the focus in this story. It brings so much clarity to this character. The characters brought into her life in this story are an eclectic group and not very likable but again perfect for this story. Little Librarian Dora has a minor role again as Zoe takes the lead with some assistance from Dora’s daughters. Jenny and Zoe have become fast friends and share some similar traits like stubbornness and perseverance. Zoe takes some risks that were questionable but I understand needing to get away from something to clear your head even if there are animals and humans that could be a risk.

This book is darker than previous books in the series but I loved that it was based on Agatha Christie. The author has laid out a fantastic plot that had a great flow and some epic twists. I do think the eerie ending pushes the rules of the cozy realm to the limit. It was unusual and unexpected but very compelling. The book was hard to put down, but past the 3/4 mark, it was impossible.

While the author does her best to give background so the book can be read on its own, I really stress that the books in this series should be read in order to understand the characters, their lives and how they relate to each other.

And Then They Were Doomed was an interesting foray for the characters from Bear Falls. However, the characters they meet gave me a case of the heebie-jeebbies. Nevertheless, this was A Perfect Escape.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of A Most Curious Murder hereShe Stopped for Death here,
In Want of a Knife here.

 

About the Author

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli lives in Mancelona, MI. She has published ten novels, one work of non-fiction, and several short stories, which have been produced onstage, read on NPR, and published in several newspapers. For many years she taught writing at the International Women’s Writing Guild summer program at Skidmore College and currently teaches at Northwestern Michigan College.


Written by Elizabeth Lee

 


Thanks to the publisher I am giving away 1 Print Copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Follow Crooked Lane Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries.

Follow Crooked Lane Books on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End September 4, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Apr 302019
 

Wed, Read & Dead
(Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

 

About the Book

 

Wed, Read & Dead (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (April 30, 2019)
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1496718291
ISBN-13: 978-1496718297
Digital ASIN: B07G6RDBRV

Bookstore owner Samantha Washington sells and solves mysteries in North Harbor, Michigan—including the murder of her mother’s wedding planner . . .

Sam’s mother can’t wait to wed her wealthy beau, Harold Robertson. The big mystery is how they’re going to pull off a lavish wedding in three weeks. Harold’s snobby sister-in-law proposes a solution: engage flamboyant wedding planner Lydia Lighthouse. But their beacon of hope quickly sends everyone into a blind rage, most of all the groom-to-be. So when the maddening micromanager is strangled with her own scarf, it’s a shock, but not a surprise.

It’s a case of art imitating life as Sam pens her next historical mystery set in England between the wars. Lady Daphne Marsh insists on marrying Lord James Browning on Christmas Eve, three weeks hence. But when the fop planning their wedding ends up with a knife in his back, she vows to nab the backstabber before she walks down the aisle.

Meanwhile, when she’s not writing, Sam and her beloved and boisterous Nana Jo rush to shine a light on Lydia’s killer—so her mother’s new husband won’t spend his honeymoon behind bars . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wedding bells will soon be ringing for Samantha’s mom Grace who is set to be married on Christmas Eve to Harold Robertson. With just 3 weeks to make all the arrangements including the dresses for the bride and her daughters who will be her bridesmaids. The family gets together to meet the groom’s family and go over details. That is when his sister-in-law reveals her gift of a wedding planner even as she degrades the bride feeling she is not good enough for her brother-in-law. The wedding planner makes her grand entrance. Lydia Lighthouse flaunts all the lavish wedding she has planned. But her ideas fall short of what the couple wants and come with huge price tags. The groom can certainly afford them but when the planner continues with her plan ignoring Grace, her betrothed becomes livid. Later when Lydia is found dead no one is really shocked but when Harold is named the main suspect, Sam, Nana Jo, and the Sleuthing Seniors gather and use all their resources to find the killer.

Sam also opens her home to some special guests and works on her next book which also features a wedding. It takes place in England in 1938 at the home of Lord William March. And it includes a murder too.

What a fabulous book!

The first chapter was so funny. I was laughing out loud. Things get serious after that but Ms. Burns laces her mysteries with humor and I love that.

The characters in this story are so well crafted. From the youngsters to the seniors and everyone in between. There is a real sense of family in this story. A family that is so inclusive of not just blood relatives but the people that have been brought together through life choices and chances. It warms my heart to witness how Sam and Nana Jo open their hearts to others and how it expounds from there. This group of people comes together for all occasions even to solve a murder. Some investigate, some keep the bookstore going so Sam can pursue leads, while others try to get the wedding plans under control.

Two characters that always steal my heart are Sam’s toy poodles, Snickers, and Oreo. I too have 2 dogs, not poodles, but border collie mixes, one who happens to be named Oreo. In this story, we learn how much Sam’s Oreo enjoyed playing in the snow. His snowful joy mirrored my Oreo perfectly. Snickers doesn’t like the snow much at all and that behavior mirrored my other dog Nerabelle too. It was almost as if Ms. Burns had visited us.

The story includes two mysteries and I love that Sam uses her writing to settle her mind to ponder the clues in her real-life mystery. Both are well-plotted with great twists and turns. New readers to this series will have to get used to the switching back and forth from present day to Sam’s historical mystery but now look forward to it. In fact, I can’t wait for the parallel storyline to start.

Engaging and fun characters, two intriguing mysteries, romance that doesn’t go too far, and great dialogue all make this story so entertaining. I love the bookshop setting too!

I have enjoyed every book in this series and in Ms. Burns Dog Club Mysteries too. So much so, the last book in this series, The Novel Art of Murder was the first book this year to have a place on my Best Reads List for 2019. This book will join it as it now is my favorite book in this series. I can’t wait for the next one!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:     Website  Facebook   Twitter:  @vmburns

Purchase Links – Amazon –  Barnes & Noble – IndieBound  – Books-A-Million –  Hudson Booksellers 
Books-A-Million –  Hudson Booksellers

Also by V.M. Burns

Praise for Wed, Read & Dead (Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

Smooth writing, engaging characters, wit, humor (Irma!) and a multi-layered mystery that kept me guessing until very close to the end!
~Reading Is My SuperPower

Wed, Read & Dead by V.M. Burns is an excellent book. Ms. Burns has a great series with these wonderfully developed characters, charming setting and adorable poodles . . .
~Baroness’ Book Trove

I love the local flavor in the books in this series. The characters are wonderful and relatable.
Nana Jo and her friends are such a treat.
~Laura’s Interests

The plot kept me hooked, but it is the characters that will keep me reading this series. So, two mysteries in one, humour, adorable kids that will break your heart, sassy seniors, the MC owns a bookstore and lots of food all add up to a wonderful cozy mystery that I can’t recommend enough.
~Carla Loves To Read

 

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April 23 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
April 23 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
April 24 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
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April 25 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
April 26 – Carla Loves to Read – REVIEW
April 27 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 27 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
April 28 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
April 29 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
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April 30 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
May 1 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
May 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
May 2 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT  
May 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Mar 192019
 

An Au Pair to Remember:
A Male Housekeeper Mystery
by Stephen Kaminski

About the Book


An Au Pair to Remember: A Male Housekeeper Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Michigan
Cozy Cat Press (January 27, 2019)
Paperback: 260 pages
ISBN-10: 1946063703
ISBN-13: 978-1946063700
Digital ASIN: B07NCBZ23L

From the author of the award-winning Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series comes the Male Housekeeper Mysteries, focusing on charming characters, snappy dialogue, eclectic murders, and cunning confidence schemes. To his mind, Cam Reddick has failed—as a husband, as a father, and as a professional. After recognizing that his vanilla credentials didn’t stack up in a big city brimming with overachievers and toiling in drudgery for half of a decade, an emotionally raw Cam returns to his childhood hometown—the quaint and quirky village of Rusted Bonnet, Michigan. He’s determined to resuscitate relationships marred by youthful immaturity, most importantly those with his ex-wife Kacey Gingerfield (who doubles as the village’s Deputy Chief of Police) and their first grader, Emma. Armed with striking looks and an endearing proclivity for mixing metaphors, but saddled by “momma’s boy” tendencies, Cam takes the helm of his mother’s housekeeping business—Peachy Kleen. Access to homes across the village facilitates Cam’s penchant for amateur sleuthing as Kacey’s aide-de-camp. Surrounded by Kacey, his sophisticated mother Darby, garrulous senior housekeeper Samantha, and recuse fish cum confidant Bait, Cam’s circuitous journeys to solving murders and unravelling complex cons hasten his struggle down the path of self-healing to self-respect. And there’s hope that—just maybe—he can rekindle the romance he once had with Kacey.

In An Au Pair to Remember, Cam’s plan for a quiet return to Rusted Bonnet is dashed when a beautiful German au pair, Greta Astor, is found dead in Dutch McRae’s foyer with all signs pointing to a hastily disassembled trip wire at the top of the stairs. When Kacey learns that Cam was cleaning the McRae home the previous afternoon, she confides to him that Chief Bernie Leftwich is set on arresting Dutch for the murder—either alone or in tandem with Greta’s bartender boyfriend. But she worries that Bernie’s been duped. And later, when his mother Darby becomes a suspect, Cam inserts himself into the investigation and stumbles through a series of ostensible incongruities—a thief swallowing a cache of stolen diamonds, a snack food distributor laundering money, and a Cash-for-Gold scam. Meanwhile, Peachy Kleen’s young African housekeeper has disappeared with one of the company vans. All the while, Cam finds himself flirting with his new neighbor and struggling with his complicated feelings for Kacey.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Cam Reddick has returned to Rusted Bonnet, Michigan to take over his mother’s housecleaning business, Peachy Kleen. But he has an ulterior motive. He hopes to have a real relationship with his daughter Emma and repair the relationship with his ex-wife Kacey Gingerfield, that blew up when he ran away and headed off to the big city. Kacey has moved on with her life working as the Deputy Chief of Police and taking care of her 6-year-old daughter. Cam’s mother, Darby is also very involved in the child’s life.

Cam is taking a hands-on approach at Peachy Kleen. He is part of the team sent to clean the McRae home where he meets Greta Astor, the McRae’s au pair. He is shocked to learn that the woman was found dead in the home the next morning. Chief Bernie Leftwich has already solved the case to his satisfaction. He deduces a trip wire was placed on the staircase and removed after Greta’s fall. He decides the children’s father, Dutch McRae is the murderer, but Kacey has her doubts. Then due to some “evidence”, he has determined that Cam’s mother Darby did it or is at least an accomplice. Cam can’t take the news sitting down so he starts doing a little sleuthing on his own. His ex-wife isn’t happy about it but at least he is keeping her in the loop with his findings.

I didn’t like Cam from the first sweep but he grew on me more as the story continued. He uses his immaturity as a reason for leaving his family behind and I just wasn’t having it. I pegged him as selfish and conceded.  I do believe in second chances though so I was willing to give him a chance and I am glad I did. I really liked Kacey. A strong woman in a tough job being the best single mom that she can. She does open her life to Cam and allows him to see his daughter a lot without a whole lot of custody craziness. He steps up too with Emma when Kacey needs to work overtime to solve the case.  Darby brings some levity to the story. I was stunned though by the Chief’s stupidity when he actually pulled her in as a suspect.

The mystery is a twisted one with plenty of theories but not a lot of actual evidence making it difficult to solve. The subplot featuring one of Peachy Kleen’s employees was very interesting and I was anxious to see how that played out and how and if it had anything to do with the au pair’s death. I did have an inkling about the murderer early on but can’t point to one thing that took me in their direction, it was just an overall thing until the final clues fell into place.

I hope in the next story we learn much more about the characters. Cam appears to have Celiac Disease and should adhere to a gluten-free diet. His good and bad food choices run throughout the story. I feel we have just scratched the surface on Kacey and Darby and I really want to see more of Emma. Of course, Cam’s fish Bait, yes he named his fish Bait, already plays a crucial role as Cam’s sounding board. I just hope he has a life longer than a typical fish 🙂

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Stephen Kaminski is the author of An Au Pair to Remember, the first installment of the Male Housekeeper Mystery series.  He also writes the award-winning Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective books.  Stephen is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the trade association representing the United States’ poison control system and its fifty-five centers.  He lives with his daughter and rescue kitty in the Washington, DC area.

Author Links – GoodReads Facebook

Purchase Links – Amazon KindleAmazon Paperback 

Also by this Author

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March 21 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
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March 23 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Feb 052019
 


The Novel Art of Murder
(Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

 

About the Book


The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1496711858
ISBN-13: 978-1496711854
Digital ASIN: B07B7B4C8Q

Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . .

The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she’s descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edward VIII back in the day. She’s not just a lousy liar, she’s a bad actress, so when she nabs the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies—a part Nana Jo plays every year in their retirement village production—Nana Jo blows a gasket and reads her the riot act in front of everyone.

Of course, when Maria is silenced with a bullet to the head, Nana Jo lands the leading role on the suspects list. Sam’s been writing her newest mystery, set in England between the wars, with her intrepid heroine Lady Daphne drawn into murder and scandal in the household of Winston Churchill. But now she has to prove that Nana Jo’s been framed. With help from her grandmother’s posse of rambunctious retirees, Sam shines a spotlight on Maria’s secrets, hoping to draw the real killer out of the shadow.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in North Harbor, Michigan just in time for Samantha Washington’s Nana Jo to become a murder suspect. It seems her usual part in the Shady Acres Senior Follies has been given to Maria Romanov, a woman of questionable character. Said to be descended from Russian Royalty and a great actress, Nana Jo knows the woman is a phony. As soon as others hear her sing, they know it too. Nana Jo tries to take the woman to task publically so when Maria ends up dead, Nana Jo’s fate as a murder suspect is sealed.

Not so fast, Sam is on the case. Using her current work in progress where Lady Daphne is in the middle of a murder in the home of Winston Churchill to settle her mind and draw parallels, she is sure to find who has framed her Nana. The crew from Shady Acres steps in to help too and soon real suspects are uncovered and clues start to fall into place.

That’s Oreo and Snickers on the cover, Oreo looks nothing like my Oreo but I love the author’s choice of pet names. The expression of the dog in the back cracks me up every time I look at the cover.

Okay, the cover is great, but the story/stories within are excellent. Ms. Burns gives us a present-day cozy mystery and her character Samantha Washington is an author and we get to read her latest work too. I love that we get two stories in each novel. It took some getting used to with the first book, but now with book 3, I hit the rhythm right away. I really enjoy how they work together.

Full of colorful characters the story sets a nice pace. Intrigue with a big dose of humor keeps the pages turning and both stories had wonderful surprise endings. Some parts are truly laugh out loud funny.

I loved this book and can’t wait for more! This is the first book of 2019 to receive my top Paradise rating and a place on my Best Reads of 2019 list. While the story can stand on its own I recommend starting at the beginning of the series for maximum enjoyment.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:     Website  Facebook   Twitter:  @vmburns

Purchase Links – Amazon –  Barnes & Noble – IndieBound
Books-A-Million –  Hudson Booksellers 


Coming April 30, 2019

Also by V.M. Burns

Praise for The Novel Art of Murder
(Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

A well-written cozy mystery with charm and heart, The Novel Art of Murder is a truly enjoyable read from start to finish.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

I had a lot of fun reading this book . . . the wild characters keep Sam`s life interesting . . .
~Laura’s Interests

Lots of little twists and turns to keep you guessing wrapped around enough charm to really draw the reader in.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

V.M. Burns has taken the traditional, contemporary cozy mystery and added a twist . . . It had to be the funniest killer takedown I have seen! I highly recommend this one.
~Author, Teresa Trent

 

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS Please visit all the stops. 🙂
January 30 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
January 30 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
January 31 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 31 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 1 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW
February 2 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
February 2 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 2 – The Editing Pen – GUEST POST
February 3 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST
February 4 – The Layaway Dragon – REVIEW
February 4 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW  
February 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
February 5 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 6 – Rae’s Books and Recipes – SPOTLIGHT
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February 7 – Jody’s Book Reviews, Book Tours & Giveaways – SPOTLIGHT
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February 8 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 8 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
February 9 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
February 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Jan 082019
 


Do No Harm: A Dr. Katie LeClair Mystery
Mystery/ Amateur Sleuth
2nd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Crooked Lane Books (December 11, 2018)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1683317874
ISBN-13: 978-1683317876
Kindle ASIN: B078M3J4FK

Small-town doctor Katie LeClair is drawn back into an old murder investigation, a mysterious disappearance, and a dark undercurrent of violence.

The idyllic town of Baxter, Michigan, seemed like the perfect place for Dr. Katie LeClair to settle down after years toiling in medical school—until the murder of a patient shattered the peace she had found. Now on the mend and balancing the responsibilities of a new house and the joys of a new romance, Katie is finally ready to start enjoying life. But danger arrives just as the town is gearing up for its annual Halloween festival—and once again, this doctor-turned-sleuth will have to unmask a killer in their midst.

Trouble comes in threes this Halloween. Katie sees a new patient who has just been released from prison for a murder he says he didn’t commit. Inexplicably, the patient suddenly goes missing. And matters take an even more sinister turn when a college student who had been investigating Katie’s old murder case is found dead in the woods near Baxter.

Could Katie’s involvement with the case be responsible for the student’s violent death? Is her new patient truly a cold-blooded murderer? Is this Halloween about to become a real-life horror show?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Dr. Katie LeClair is settling in and getting comfortable in Baxter, Michigan. Circumstances in book 1 have left the clinic shorthanded but Katie’s doctor boyfriend is filling in and picking up the slack.

Set in late October we meet Katie’s new patient Eugene Lowe, who has just been released from prison for a murder he still claims he didn’t commit. We also learn a young college student who had previously worked with Katie is missing. Taylor Knox just happened to be researching Lowe’s case for one of her classes when she went missing. After the girl’s body is found Eugene goes missing knowing he will be the prime suspect. Katie believes Eugene didn’t kill Taylor and probably didn’t kill the first woman either, she just has to prove it. With her brother Caleb techy knowledge and skills, she may be able to find the real killer.

I really like Katie LeClair, she is not only strong and smart she is compassionate and caring. She is not quick to judge and strives to get the true facts. Her brother Caleb has her back and is a great sounding board. New boyfriend Matt, also a doctor, wishes she would leave matters to police but knows Katie will not back away from the case so he also helps in any way he can. These characters are realistic and people I would like to know in real life. Ms. Eastman has also created a wonderful cast of secondary characters as well that clearly could be found in any small Midwestern town.

The mystery twists around and connects to Katie in different ways giving her the means to insert herself in key ways to follow up on clues and other information she has uncovered. I particularly enjoyed the way the police chief appreciated Katie’s input. The story had a rapid pace and elements that take this land this in the traditional mystery category. There was suspense in all the rights places and the author takes us on a great journey.

While this story can be read as a stand alone I believe the series should be read in order for maximum enjoyment. There are spoilers in this book if you plan to go back and read Unnatural Causes after reading this book.

Dawn Eastman has a writing style that I really enjoy. This is a great addition to this series.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Unnatural Causes here


About the Author

National bestselling author Dawn Eastman was a family medicine physician in Michigan. Now she lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and daughter. When not writing, she keeps busy catering to the whims of a bossy bichon-shih tzu mix who wants to rule the world. This is her first Dr. Katie LeClair mystery. She is also the author of THE FAMILY FORTUNE MYSTERIES.

Author Links

Webpage – Facebook – Goodreads

Twitter – @DawnAEastman


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

 

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.

Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.
Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Follow Crooked Lane Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

 

Contest Will End January 22, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Oct 092018
 


Forever Fudge (A Candy-coated Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (September 25, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496716064
Kindle ASIN: B078QM8PGM

When a film crew comes to Mackinac Island, the last thing fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy expects to find is a murder victim . . .

SHOT ON LOCATION

It’s Labor Day weekend, the official end of tourist season, and the beginning of a whole batch of trouble. First, the island is invaded by a TV crew filming a murder mystery pilot, and handsome Hollywood heartthrob Dirk Benjamin needs Allie’s help to prep for his role as local cop Rex Manning. Then, Allie’s bichonpoo Mal sniffs out a real murder in the alley behind the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop, a man shot in the head—with a note challenging amateur sleuth Allie to catch the culprit. Like it or not, the fudge maker has to square off against a crazy killer—but this time she may have bitten off more than she can chew . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy is up to her neck in another murder. The quiet tourist destination has had a real crime wave since she came to town. Her dog, Mal, has found yet another body. A body the killer wanted Allie to find because he left her a note with the deceased.

She really doesn’t have time for another murder mystery. Frances and  Mr. Devaney are off on their honeymoon so the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop is understaffed and some unusual and scary things are happening at the hotel. Allie doesn’t know if they are connected to the murder, but she needs to find out.

It doesn’t help that a film crew has set up on the island for a new murder mystery show and the town is running a contest to see which side of the street can come up with the most money. The winner will be a featured backdrop for the film which could be great publicity. The hotel and fudge shop had a good year, but Allie has other plans for her profits. This does not make the mayor happy.

Her personal life is in flux too and her BFF is leaving the island for a great job in Chicago. The idea of a peaceful offseason is not going to happen unless she helps find a killer and the film crew leaves town. Fudge! She is going to have to get involved in another investigation!

Escaping to Mackinac Island with Allie and the gang is always so much fun. This time the author has really stirred up a sweet mystery. Life at the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop is never dull. There is always something happening. The characters she has created are so engaging. It makes me want to pack my bags and head there right away. I missed having Frances there especially but it is after Labor Day and the newlyweds deserve some time off for their honeymoon.

Ms. Coco added an interesting element to the mystery this time. The killer is leaving clues stating chess moves. The problem is Allie doesn’t play chess so she tries to learn. But before she gets even a novice handle on the game another body is found and she realizes the killer knows her well, knows the previous crimes she has helped solve, and the people she cares about may be in danger. This adds a nice twist to the entire story.

Forever Fudge is a well-written cozy mystery with well-developed characters. The author blends the intrigue with a little romance and humor. I am team Rex all the way but looking forward to the next installment in the series to see if Allie finally makes up her mind.

The fudge recipes throughout the book are an added bonus.

This was an entertaining escape and a fine addition to this series.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Nancy Coco/Nancy J. Parra and her books on her webpage here

Written as Nancy J. Parra

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to giveaway!  

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.

Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End October 23, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Sep 122018
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli to Escape with Dollycas today!

Hi Everyone,

When my agent suggested Little Libraries might make a good topic for a series, I did what I always do, smiled and nodded while thinking: “That’s nuts!  What can I do with Little Library boxes that sit out in front of houses?

They sit there at the curb, one purpose only: to hold borrowable books and make readers happy.   How do I stuff a body into one of those little things?  How do I plant clues?  How do I work up suspense?  How do I stage a final scene with the killer cornering my sleuth: his eyes blood red, a knife in his raised hand, the final thrust within inches…?

I thought up mysteries based on themes in a famous writer’s work., or a style, a book from a series, a character, a setting . . . from shadowy moors with a voice calling from a parked Porsche: “Heathcliff! Where the hell are you?” to a 21st century Scrooge with a murderous ghost hiding in his natural-stone shower.  I looked at writers from Shakespeare: “Out, out, damned spot.  Thy DNA wilt gives me away.”

To:

Edgar Allen Poe:  The Tell-Tale Heart.   My title: What’s That Beating in my Walls.

Joseph Kesselring, the Broadway play of 1941: Arsenic and Old LaceMy title: Batrachtoxin and Spandex

Frances Hodgson Burnett:  The Secret Garden.  My title: Mulch and Murder.

Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca. My title: Hmmm.  Maybe, for that lying, cheating Rebecca:  Sure Glad She’s Dead.

Louise May Alcott:  Little Women.  My title: The Family that Preys Together.

But this is what I’ve settled on so far:

I took bits of Alice in Wonderland, stirred in some whimsical flavoring, committed a couple of murders, threw in a Little Woman with a giant chip on her shoulder, and out popped: A Most Curious Murder.

Then—Emily Dickinson, at long last she’s slipped into my hands.  I used, not her work but her life in their icy Amherst, MA house with sister Lavinia.  I threw in a heap of jealousy, touched a match to it, and came up with: She Stopped for Death.

Then—In Want of a Knife.  This is Jane Austen (believe it or not).  I found what I was looking for in Pride and Prejudice.  I discovered that mothers wanting rich husbands for their daughters are alive and well, in this century, in Bear Falls, Michigan.  Rich husbands might be murderers, or maybe it’s their friends.  It all works out in the end:  some daughters get their men, murderers are duly dispatched, and everyone lives happily ever after.

And now I’m writing: He Went out and Hanged himself.  You’ve got to know that’s Agatha Christie.  This one’s easy.  Ten people isolated in the forests of Upper Michigan.  They disappear—one by one (almost), old sins follow them, and eventually, the dead are unburied for all to see.

And that’s it—so far.   But who knows where this series will take me: Anna Karenin?, Animal Farm?  Maybe Lord of the Flies?

After all, there’s no place like a library.

What a great idea:  Little Libraries!   (I love my agent).

~Elizabeth

Thank you, Elizabeth, for visiting today!

Now let me give you my thoughts on In Want of a Knife.


In Want of A Knife: A Little Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)
Hardcover: 321 pages
ISBN-10: 1683317378
ISBN-13: 978-1683317371
Kindle ASIN: B078MB5DHT

When they investigate a string of disappearances of young girls, will Jenny Weston and Zoe Zola be dispatched with extreme pride and prejudice?

Amateur sleuth and little librarian Jenny Wilson is set on edge when the police discover a young girl’s body, dressed in an old-fashioned white lace dress, just outside Bear Falls. And when another local girl from town disappears soon after, Jenny and her next-door neighbor, author and little person Zoe Zola, know they have to help the beleaguered police chief.

But first, Jenny and Zoe have new neighbors to meet: A trio of wealthy newcomers from Chicago has just moved into a huge mansion on Lake Michigan. Nathan and Delia Wickley are genial siblings, and Fitzwilliam Dillon, the mansion’s owner, is a Little Person like Zoe. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a rich gentleman seeking to ingratiate himself to his new neighbors will spread a bit of largesse around, and Fitzwilliam is no exception: He has offered two million dollars to Bear Falls. But the townspeople are far from agreed on what to do with the money—and the deliberations are far from peaceful.

But it’ll all come to naught if the missing girl isn’t found, and the culprit identified. And when she ventures alone to a mysterious structure in the woods, Zoe may not live to resolve her romantic dilemmas. Though neither Jenny nor Zoe is particularly placid or even-tempered, love and danger beckon them.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Dora’s daughter Jenny and famous author, Zoe team up in this story after one young girl is found dead on the side of the road and another girl goes missing. The police are doing a huge search and as soon as the amateur sleuths meet their new neighbors they will join the search and meet with the girl’s mother and her friend to see if they can get more insight as to where the girl may have gone.

The new neighbors, wealthy people from Chicago, are not very well received. The owner of the new mansion on the lake, Fitzwilliam Dillon, is a Little Person like Zoe and treats her horribly. His two friends aren’t much better, but this group is offering the town two million dollars to invest in something that all residents will benefit from, so the Zoe and the rest of the greeting committee try to bite their tongues until they leave the mansion. Dora agrees to take on Fitz and his friends while Jenny and Zoe do all they can to save the girl who is missing.

Little Librarian Dora takes a bit of a backseat in this story. Jenny and Zoe shine as the trek through the woods searching for any clue that may lead them to the missing girl. They think her friend may have information but he is out of town with his father. The police want all the help they can get and encourage Jenny and Zoe to reach out to this young man as soon as he gets home. I missed the way Jenny and Dora worked together, but really enjoyed the way Zoe cast everything aside, okay, she really doesn’t like the topic of her new book, but she really stepped up this time especially when she has to take 2 steps to everyone else’s 1 and traveling through that woods was hard. The author did an excellent job of making me feel like I was there every step of the way.

Readers were also treated to a complex mystery. First, they had to decide if and how the two teenagers were connected and that wasn’t easy. Suspects were determined by the result. Truthfully the whole thing came down to Zoe and Jenny’s determination that the woods was key. The story is broken into eight parts. I love this author’s writing style. The story had a slow build, each section got a little more intense. By the time I reached Part 8, my heart was beating fast and I could not read the pages fast enough.  Like in the last book a psychological element is brought to light as the mystery is solved.

The subplot of Zoe’s book brought the necessary humor to the story. Her take Pride and Prejudice and the women Jane Austen had created crack me up time and time again. I agreed with her but I do enjoy the escape I get when reading an Austen book.

Jenny’s romantic life is in flux in this book but by the end, things take a turn. No spoilers, you have to read the book.

This is another wonderful book from Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli. Her lead characters are genuine and women whose lives I have become invested in. Each stop to Bear Falls has been very interesting and entertaining. I am excited for more books in this series.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli lives in Mancelona, MI. She has published ten novels, one work of non-fiction, and several short stories, which have been produced onstage, read on NPR, and published in several newspapers. For many years she taught writing at the International Women’s Writing Guild summer program at Skidmore College and currently teaches at Northwestern Michigan College.

Also by this Author

Written as Elizabeth Lee

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher on NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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